The following essential words list is based in part on the
Voice of America
"Special English" Basic Vocabulary List
that Martin Larsen
kindly brought to our attention. (You can see the complete 'Special English' list at the VOA Website...)
However, if you take the time to compare that list against ours,
you'll notice two things about our list. Firstly
, ours is shorter --
we only include (approximately)
700 "Head Words" here.
That seems a manageable number to us --
providing 'good value' without being too heavy a burden. [You'll find 1500 'Head Words' at VOA.]
Moreover, it forces us to be more selective.
It makes us choose only those head-words that
use in Turkish-speaking settings.
, it requires that we exclude
'nice to know
' or 'flavor of the month
or 'politically correct
', or 'obvious
' words, phrases, etc.
we reckon you'll understand that banka in Turkish means
bank in English.
So we don't include it on our list --
even though it's an essential word in daily Turkish life...
Secondly, we include words on our list that
are not included on the VOA list.
We do that because Turks express themselves
in ways that are not neatly confined
to words on any English-language list of this sort.
(We delve a little deeper into that subject on
our Expressing Yourself in Turkish page...)
you won't hear a naturally polite Turkish gentleman
say merhaba; hello when answering the telephone.
Instead you'll hear him say 'Efendim'
(which is the English-equivalent of 'My master')...
So, although you won't find
anything remotely similar on the VOA list,
the word Efendim finds a comfortable spot
on our Top 700 list...
An essential Turkish head-words list, we feel, needs to contain
the terms you'll actually hear (and that you'll want to use yourself)
in conversations with Turkish speakers --
if you want to understand and be understood, that is ...
A final point about our essential head-words list...
If your circumstances dictate or
if you prefer reading Turkish language materials before
venturing bravely into conversation --
then this list is for you, too.
Some of us, it seems,
are still a leetle intimidated by the speedy-speech
of the rapid-fire vendors we meet in the Turkish bazaar or
by the glib TV commentators we see on Turkish telly.
So, we solemly pledge that, with our list in tow,
you'll be able to brush up your Turkish in private,
long before you need
appear on stage for your Turkish 'orals'.
Just get yourself a copy of
a Turkish newspaper like Sabah or Hürriyet
or a Turkish magazine like Aktüel or Tombak --
and have a go...
It can be fun, and it can do wonders for your
translator's confidence --
as you massage the correct meaning from the subject matter.
Having said all that, we realize that
any list of essential words has short-comings --
mostly because it reflects
the opinionated personal experiences of the list-maker.
Our list suffers from this fault we know,
and we apologize in advance...
Shall we move forward then?
Just pick a favorite starting letter below --